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The facade of the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland. There are now a couple of them; the ride has been recreated at the Florida Walt Disneyworld, Tokyo Disney, EuroDisney and Hong Kong Disneyland. The idea originated with the 1964/1965 New York's World Fair (at Pepsi's pavillion), so after the fair closed, the ride was transferred to Disneyland and officially opened in 1966. The name of the ride was originally "Children of the World," which is still the prominent theme at the Disney parks as well. The popular song was written by Robert and Richard Sherman. The design is by Mary Blair, an art director who also worked on several Disney animated features. Characters and scenes were designed by Marc Davis, whose wife also designed the various costumes for the dolls. The facade seen here in the photo features the minarets reminescent of world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The large, three-dimensional clock is featured at the center. The facade started out as all-white with gold trim, but then was painted varoius shades of blue, then pink and white. Currently it's returned to its roots and is all white with gold trim, appearing as it did in the 1960s. The gardens around the building are decorated with a variety of topiary animals.

One of the most significant tourist attractions in Southern California, the origianl Disneyland (now there are five) was dedicated on July 17, 1955 and opeend to the public the following day. It remains, however, the only theme park that was designed, built, opened and operated by Walt Disney. According to some statistics, it's been visited by more than 500 million guests, including presidents, royalty and, well, me! It was the second most visited park in the world in 2007, with an estimated 14.8 million people passing through. Allegedly the concept was born when Walt Disney was visiting Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his two daughters; while watching them ride the Merry-Go-Round he thought of creating a place where adults and children could go to have fun together. His father had helped build the grounds for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, but the weather is generally more agreeable in California, so he conceived a park with various "lands" filled with rides and themes. The original "Mickey Mouse Park" was initially supposed to occupy about 8 acres but the concept grew. Walt then acquired 160 acres of orange groves and walnut trees in Anaheim. Construction began in 1954, and only a year later the park was opened. It reportedly cost about $17 million USD to complete, a considerable sum at the time. US Route 101 (now the 5 freeway) was also being built at the same time in preparation for the traffic. Numerous rides have been added, removed and added again over the years, and the area has expanded into literally a small city. The site is now home to a number of hotels, the California Adventure Park, and the Downtown Disney shopping complex. One parking structure can hold more than 10,000 cars and is the largest one in the US.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1149] (2034)
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